Civil War Transcendence:
A NOVEL OF TIME TRAVEL, Episode 2
My real name is Shelton Owen Woods, but I go by the alias of James Hager.
I live in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and am originally from Little Rock, Arkansas.
I feel myself slipping away.
I had to write this account to keep from going insane. Everyone considers me eccentric by today’s standards anyway, but if they only knew…
I have kept this account in a journal hidden beneath a floor slat under my bed. I guess this sounds a little melodramatic, but if it was found, I don’t know what would happen to me.
I was employed as the local schoolteacher. My background in history, philosophy and mathematics, which I studied in high school and law school, allowed me to worm my way into the job.
How did I get here? I wish I knew.
If I had the acumen of a PhD in Physics, I would be able to explain what happened in scientific terms, but I don’t. So, you will have to settle for my rather unscientific mundane style.
I promise to not go back too far, but some background is needed to hopefully explain my predicament.
I have always been a Civil War buff. I was raised in the South, and all the Confederate Generals were my heroes. Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest were the first; with John Brown Gordon, John Bell Hood and Stonewall Jackson joining the pantheon later in life.
I hadn’t been reading Civil War books very actively for years until Ken Burns made his epic documentary for Public Television. Then the bug bit me again, and I went on a Civil War “bender.”
I fixated on the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam. For some reason, this engagement stood out among all the battles mentioned in Burns’ documentary.
I read all I could about the battle; the officers, the units, the description of the land, and the deployment of the armies. I thought I had become a Civil War resource of some repute. I could rattle off regiments, brigades, divisions and corps utilized in this battle at a moment’s notice.
As I got more into the background of how both armies ended up in western Maryland, I was forced to go back to the point that Robert E. Lee took over the Confederate Army in Virginia and named it the Army of Northern Virginia. This opened up the whole idea of Southern Strategy during the war, and I was again
reveling in a cloud of Civil War History.
So I read more books.
All of this hubris was the basis of what led to me being in this jail in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on this day – September 17 in the Year of Our Lord, 1880.